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Monday, February 05, 2007

Disappointment in The Grove at Santa Paula’s Glen Tavern Inn

The Grove restaurant at the Glen Tavern Inn in Santa Paula, CA recently re-opened from a fire that ravaged the hotel and restaurant early in 2006. As with any grand re-opening, you imagine there is a pretty basic marketing plan. This even goes for establishments in smaller communities like Santa Paula nestled deep in Ventura County.

I imagine their recent marketing plan looked something like this:
  • Inform the local newspaper – check!
  • Invite food critics and editors from county newspapers – check!
  • Close to the public the same Saturday information is published – check!

Look closely at that last item. Yes, I am serious. That is exactly what The Grove at the Glen Tavern Inn did this past Saturday night, February 3rd!

Over that previous week inside the Ventura County Star’s (Star Free Press) section on where to dine in Ventura County, The Grove was prominently advertised and mentioned. Our aunt was coming up from Pasadena and we thought The Grove would be an excellent place to try. Once our decision was made, we placed a call to The Grove at the Glen Tavern Inn to make reservations. To our surprise, we were informed that the restaurant would be closed that evening to the public due to an event for a Chamber of Commerce Awards Banquet.

I wonder how many other news readers called to receive the same disappointing news.

Now, I have absolutely nothing against a restaurant closing to the general public, especially for an event for a Chamber of Commerce. (who granted a CDBG Micro Loan to the Glen Tavern Inn a few weeks earlier) I also have nothing against not being able to get reservations at a restaurant due to late planning. As they say timing is everything.

However, I cannot understand how on the first Saturday night after you receive significant press that you close your doors to the public. Given the case that you most likely paid for it, it is simply not smart business. A lot of new customers and potential repeat customers were lost. You would even think the Santa Paula Chamber of Commerce would have been against the idea as the loss in business could hurt the very investment that they made.

I may consider visiting The Grove at the Glen Tavern Inn in the future. However, it is no longer on my priority or want lists. The promotion and subsequent closure to the public leaves a bad taste in my mouth.